like pbs, i love big bird. i actually like you, too. but i'm not going to spend money on things to borrow money from china to pay for. >> reporter: a wide opening, but the president took more than 14 hours to come up with a comeback. >> thank goodness somebody is finally getting tough on big bird. it's about time. >> reporter: many top democrats suggest that one of the problems, maybe one common to incumbents, the president has lived in a bubble for four years, surrounded by adulation, rarely challenged. the campaign today acknowledged they were going to conduct a reassessment before the next debate. diane? >> all right, thank you, jake. and what about governor romney and his day? abc's david muir traveling with the governor in virginia. david? >> reporter: diane, great to see you from virginia. mitt romney expected to appear here just moments from now, and beside him, paul ryan, taking a break from his own debate prep to celebrate romney's debate last night. tonight, new questions about whether or not romney is trying to modify his message a bit with that much larger audience.